Home Forums Tech talk Why does every website look the same?

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 151 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1212718
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    bb1, post: 262614, member: 53375 wrote:
    But a real designer who doesn’t just rely on templates can sell a unique design to the sheep.

    But only smart sheep will know what they’re getting.

    #1212719
    Jason Ramage
    Participant
    • Total posts: 3,162
    Greg_M, post: 262629, member: 38207 wrote:
    But only smart sheep will know what they’re getting.

    Now i am confused, are we referring to the black sheep in the pack – or just sheep in general?

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1212720
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    Greg_M, post: 262629, member: 38207 wrote:
    But only smart sheep will know what they’re getting.

    And thats the crux of the problem.

    Your average newbie, are told they need a website, they go to a ”designer” who sells them the latest and greatest ”website”. But in reality it’s just another template pulled out of their back pocket, the average business person has no idea, that the ”designers” talent laying in just changing a colour or a few words on a stock standard template.

    Comes back to your original question, it’s because developers and designer have no creativity, they take the easy road of pulling out a template.

    #1212721
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,463
    Greg_M, post: 262606, member: 38207 wrote:
    … right or wrong a lot of clients love widgets.
    And if all you’re doing is delivering what the client thinks they want, you’re not doing a very good job for them.

    Part of a good/effective designer’s job is to educate the client on what will work best for them versus what they may personally want/like. Soemtimes it may be the same thing, but often it will be completely different.

    A big homepage image slider (mentioned above i think) is a great example. Many clients see them and love them, and want to have one on their own shiny new website. Yet many usability studies and A/B testing has shown they don’t achieve anything, and may actual distract from the core objective of what a user is wanting to do when arriving on a website.

    A good designer can communcite this to a “layman” client, and provide evidence if need be (though thankfully I have enough of a rep nowadays that I’m trusted by most of my clients so don’t have to spend much additional time “convincing” them ;) ).

    #1212722
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    bb1, post: 262632, member: 53375 wrote:
    And thats the crux of the problem.

    Your average newbie, are told they need a website, they go to a ”designer” who sells them the latest and greatest ”website”. But in reality it’s just another template pulled out of their back pocket, the average business person has no idea, that the ”designers” talent laying in just changing a colour or a few words on a stock standard template.

    Comes back to your original question, it’s because developers and designer have no creativity, they take the easy road of pulling out a template.

    First up, as I’ve mentioned before, I have no problem with templates as such. So far as layout (not content) is concerned they’re a sensible tool. To code a layout from scratch is generally cost prohibitive on most budgets…I do get a bit shitty when the template is actually a “theme” i.e. straight off the shelf from another wholesale designer, then passed to a client as “original” work.

    No problem if the client is aware of it and is only paying accordingly for adding copy, images etc.

    I’d agree the average person would have no idea, but I do think the days of designers/developers smashing out off the shelf themed sites are numbered.

    A quick look in the membership files here, and you’ll notice many/most web designers are no longer in business…even some posting in this thread.

    The competition for clients (Squarespace, Wix etc etc) and the low acceptable price point for most newbies, just kills off the solo/small operator very quickly imo. You now need to know very little about the technology to get a passable (visually) website up and running.

    But, you need to know a LOT to get a ROI online.

    The ones that last (also seen in this thread) have been around long enough to be able to prove a ROI to their clients, often by providing a lot more than straight design work.

    True innovation in design (as in most other things) is rare. Maybe someone will surprise both you and I (but I’m not holding my breath in the meantime).

    #1212723
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173
    bb1, post: 262632, member: 53375 wrote:
    Your average newbie, are told they need a website,… average business person has no idea, that the ”designers” talent laying in just changing a colour or a few words on a stock standard template.

    The landscape wouldn’t be that bad if the designers stuck with the templates they received – many of them are beautifully designed but are subsequently destroyed by poor choices around layout, font choice, colors etc.

    I personally lament the lack of templates that are created for service based businesses that rely on volumes of words instead of just small boxes with image, headline and space for <30 words.

    From my non-designer and failed grade 3 art class point of view, I find the great thing about well done templates is that they look awesome when all of the proportions are the same as the template designer intended.

    But when the proportions change, they can look terrible to my eye.

    And I haven’t yet come across one that is designed to have a lot of words. And Google (still) loves words.

    So a template that accommodates a 1000 word homepage seems such a natural niche to me but I have never seen on.

    Whats with that?

    #1212724
    bradzo
    Member
    • Total posts: 335
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 262700, member: 78928 wrote:
    And I haven’t yet come across one that is designed to have a lot of words. And Google (still) loves words.

    So a template that accommodates a 1000 word homepage seems such a natural niche to me but I have never seen on.

    Whats with that?

    I think what you’re referring to Peter is the “long form sales letter” type approach.

    Internet Marketers, selling “information products” springs to my mind.
    People like Frank Kern, Russell Brunson, Perry Belcher, Ed Dale, Mike Filsaime, and that other guy, er, Andy Jenkins – all the IM “gurus” used to use a single web page that you’d have to scroll down and down and down reading all this stuff about their newest “product”.. with calls to action littered all the way through (which led to the payment area) …

    It worked in the day because those guys are very wealthy now, but to my mind, it was all a bit cheezy… :) People loved them though, obviously :) – it was the copy that eventually got you in, and forbid, I admit I’ve bought my fair share of the “shiny new thing” :)

    So maybe its time to re-visit this – and before I forget, research The Gary Halbert NewsLetter – not sure whether they’re still around (I had a subscription way back when), but he was touted as being the greatest copy-writer ever. Ah! http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com/

    And add John Carlton, John Reese, Mark Joyner.

    Google all those people for ideas!

    #1212725
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    bradzo, post: 262706, member: 3742 wrote:
    I think what you’re referring to Peter is the “long form sales letter” type approach.

    Internet Marketers, selling “information products” springs to my mind.
    People like Frank Kern, Russell Brunson, Perry Belcher, Ed Dale, Mike Filsaime, and that other guy, er, Andy Jenkins – all the IM “gurus” used to use a single web page that you’d have to scroll down and down and down reading all this stuff about their newest “product”.. with calls to action littered all the way through (which led to the payment area) …

    It worked in the day because those guys are very wealthy now, but to my mind, it was all a bit cheezy… :) People loved them though, obviously :) – it was the copy that eventually got you in, and forbid, I admit I’ve bought my fair share of the “shiny new thing” :)

    So maybe its time to re-visit this – and before I forget, research The Gary Halbert NewsLetter – not sure whether they’re still around (I had a subscription way back when), but he was touted as being the greatest copy-writer ever. Ah! http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com/

    And add John Carlton, John Reese, Mark Joyner.

    Google all those people for ideas!

    I couldn’t Google them all but the Halbert Newsletter was very entertaining.

    Must be getting old but I wasn’t overly sure it wasn’t a p*** take, especially the mention of his release from prison?

    It was long form alright, should fit [USER=78928]@Paul – FS Concierge[/USER] requirements perfectly.

    I do have some suggested design improvements though. Maybe a large header parallax image of a designer exploding with frustration, and definitely one of those “sticky” “scroll to top” widgets cause it is a very long way back to the top if you miss anything on the way down :)

    #1212726
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173
    bradzo, post: 262706, member: 3742 wrote:
    I think what you’re referring to Peter is the “long form sales letter” type approach.

    I am Paul – I get what your saying and Russel Brunson is pushing his software and making probably a lot of money doing so.

    But no, my website (which is circa 2014, so ala, Jason, no reviews please) simply addresses prospects desires and fears using primarily, Headlines, white space, separators and text. The format is very different to the long form sales letter. I have used images to “break up” the text.

    But having so many words on the page and using almost entirely a 2/3 (for text) and 1/4 (contact form) layout below 1 x large image is just not something I see that anyone in the template designing world has done.

    I originally used some of the features of the page builder such as 3 or 4 columns each with a square box, inside which was an image, a headline and a kind of small space for text – see the image I posted (the amount of words on the page is tiny) – but it did not convert well.

    On WordPress today, it is almost impossible in my limited knowledge to display a telephone number in huge font in the header that is clickable on a mobile phone.

    This would be my first request if someone were ever to grant me 3… or 1 WordPress wishes:)

    [ATTACH]1613[/ATTACH]

    #1212727
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 262726, member: 78928 wrote:
    On WordPress today, it is almost impossible in my limited knowledge to display a telephone number in huge font in the header that is clickable on a mobile phone.

    This would be my first request if someone were ever to grant me 3… or 1 WordPress wishes:)

    Now there’s a challenge!

    At a glance I can’t see why you can’t get a phone no. in your header (there’s plenty of space to the right of your logo-even on mobile)…the “clickable on mobile” bit is just a HTML tag.

    Currently the number is in your menu links, so it disappears on mobile view, but in theory it can be made clickable where it is regardless of view…using HTML it’ll be clickable (and call up the phone with number loaded) on mobile, on a desktop it’ll probably call up some generic app (still let’s the user know it works).

    Has anyone tried hard coding into the header?

    I reckon with a little research in something like Chrome Dev tools…one of your wishes “may be granted.

    #1212728
    bradzo
    Member
    • Total posts: 335

    I am Paul

    Sorry Paul! Where the hell did Peter come from? (Old and crusty and not reading properly, obviously)

    My apologies!

    #1212729
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,463

    Just out of chance came across this article on Medium:
    Why Do All Websites Look the Same?

    Then this reply to comments from the same author:
    Balancing Creativity and Usability

    And my comment to the second article in full here:

    I’ll add to the comment from Marvin Russell below (or will it be above?), that the reason many websites look very similar is exactly the same reason most car dashboards look very similar, why most fridges look very similar, why most [insert just about any tool you can think of] look very similar.

    A website is a tool, plain & simple. There are some that are created for art, and hopefully that does continue — the same as some “painters” make art, while other “painters” paint kitchens and living rooms (there are far more of the latter for a reason). By and large, most websites are created to enable a user to complete a task of one kind or another. And as such, with over two decades of online user & usability research, we are now able to determine in many instances the type of interfaces that provide the optimal user experience for a user trying to complete a task, or in more laymans terms, the type of interface that makes it easier for someone to do something.

    This isn’t a bad thing, indeed I would argue the exact opposite. Having been a web designer, developer and/or project manager for the past two decades, I was right there as we “experimented” in the early days, and the HUGE amont of work & money that was spent by organisations creating highly creative, visually “pretty” websites that achieved very little for them from a business perspective, and frustrated their potential customers to an exorbitant level.

    Nowadays, we are armed with information that enables us to create online interfaces that make it much easier for a user to find the information they are looking for, to complete the task they want to complete.

    It’s great that you had your students throw out the usability rule book as an experiment, and asked them to create what in reality is “art”. Having very good creative skills can only contribute to your ability as a web interface designer, it can help to add those small details that can make one website stand out over another, even while adhering to effective usability guidelines. However when creating web interfaces that need to achieve a business and/or information goal, they will also need to marry their creativity with what we know about usability, which is far more than we knew twenty years ago. Thankfully.

    #1212730
    CephIT
    Member
    • Total posts: 26

    I’d say most people here are correct.

    I’m an engineer, websites are a part of what I might write for a partner. In doing this we have to strike a balance between being unique, with unique design and functions to stand out and the time, budget and effectiveness they wish from their site/application.

    While myself I won’t generally reuse templates. I’m not a design guru so I often may use a number of design principles or frameworks.

    For instance. Google has their Material Design that makes all their applications look and feel the same. https://material.io/design/ (it’s a good read)

    If you where to ever look at my site, you’d see I follow a very simple and to the point single page design. I have the challenge of distilling what could be A LOT of boring info (well I find it really exciting, most my partners don’t though) into something that tries to get a point across quickly.

    Suffice to say I get most of my partners by meeting them in public.

    Usually if a site is costing your less then a few Au dollyroo’s, it’s likely from a template that has been reused. This isn’t generally a bad thing. But “may” not really pop you out from a list of competitors.

    The main things. Make sure your site conveys the information it needs to clearly. Try to follow WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) which help vision impaired or other peoples with disabilities navigate your site. Make sure it’s functional ( Contact forms, tracking etc ) and it all works. Once its up you can measure the success of your site and adjust accordingly.

    Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

    #1212731
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    Zava Design, post: 262944, member: 34615 wrote:
    Just out of chance came across this article on Medium:
    Why Do All Websites Look the Same?

    Then this reply to comments from the same author:
    Balancing Creativity and Usability

    And my comment to the second article in full here:

    I’ll add to the comment from Marvin Russell below (or will it be above?), that the reason many websites look very similar is exactly the same reason most car dashboards look very similar, why most fridges look very similar, why most [insert just about any tool you can think of] look very similar.

    A website is a tool, plain & simple. There are some that are created for art, and hopefully that does continue — the same as some “painters” make art, while other “painters” paint kitchens and living rooms (there are far more of the latter for a reason). By and large, most websites are created to enable a user to complete a task of one kind or another. And as such, with over two decades of online user & usability research, we are now able to determine in many instances the type of interfaces that provide the optimal user experience for a user trying to complete a task, or in more laymans terms, the type of interface that makes it easier for someone to do something.

    This isn’t a bad thing, indeed I would argue the exact opposite. Having been a web designer, developer and/or project manager for the past two decades, I was right there as we “experimented” in the early days, and the HUGE amont of work & money that was spent by organisations creating highly creative, visually “pretty” websites that achieved very little for them from a business perspective, and frustrated their potential customers to an exorbitant level.

    Nowadays, we are armed with information that enables us to create online interfaces that make it much easier for a user to find the information they are looking for, to complete the task they want to complete.

    It’s great that you had your students throw out the usability rule book as an experiment, and asked them to create what in reality is “art”. Having very good creative skills can only contribute to your ability as a web interface designer, it can help to add those small details that can make one website stand out over another, even while adhering to effective usability guidelines. However when creating web interfaces that need to achieve a business and/or information goal, they will also need to marry their creativity with what we know about usability, which is far more than we knew twenty years ago. Thankfully.

    Enjoyed the read and the comments, thanks for the link.

    Point taken on a website just being a tool (with a specific target/purpose in mind), but I do enjoy seeing the edges “pushed” a bit so interface design does evolve and hopefully improve the user experience.

    #1212732
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    CephIT, post: 262948, member: 112253 wrote:
    I’d say most people here are correct.

    I’m an engineer, websites are a part of what I might write for a partner. In doing this we have to strike a balance between being unique, with unique design and functions to stand out and the time, budget and effectiveness they wish from their site/application.

    While myself I won’t generally reuse templates. I’m not a design guru so I often may use a number of design principles or frameworks.

    For instance. Google has their Material Design that makes all their applications look and feel the same. https://material.io/design/ (it’s a good read)

    If you where to ever look at my site, you’d see I follow a very simple and to the point single page design. I have the challenge of distilling what could be A LOT of boring info (well I find it really exciting, most my partners don’t though) into something that tries to get a point across quickly.

    Suffice to say I get most of my partners by meeting them in public.

    Usually if a site is costing your less then a few Au dollyroo’s, it’s likely from a template that has been reused. This isn’t generally a bad thing. But “may” not really pop you out from a list of competitors.

    The main things. Make sure your site conveys the information it needs to clearly. Try to follow WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) which help vision impaired or other peoples with disabilities navigate your site. Make sure it’s functional ( Contact forms, tracking etc ) and it all works. Once its up you can measure the success of your site and adjust accordingly.

    Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

    As a non designer who’s only focus is now on the mobile web, I’ve become a fan of Material Design.

    There’s now some pretty handy UI frameworks geared towards scaffolding a project with MD.

    Off the shelf, most of the ready to roll layout templates can be a bit clunky looking on desktop (imo) but most work very well on mobile or a tablet…and that’s where usability counts for most consumers.

    Google are doing a lot of work to make “branding” happen more smoothly using MD principals. Case in point, I’m currently learning to use Flutter, a UI widget builder for native mobile apps and there’s a lot of stuff available to get away from the Google “look” but still use the design principals…some of that seems to be leaking through to the web UI frameworks.

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 151 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.